Friday, March 24th, 2017
Before Aer Lingus made its first transatlantic flight, in a time when few Irish people could dream of taking to the air, intrepid aviator Alexander ‘Monkey’ Campbell Morgan (1919-1958) roamed Ireland’s skies, documenting towns and villages throughout the thirty-two counties. A wartime pilot for the Royal Artillery Air Corps, he launched a peacetime career in aerial photography before his tragic death in a plane crash after flying from Shannon.Gathered here are over 250 of his evocative images of Ireland on the cusp of economic and social transformation. Although the pattern of the streets is familiar, the details are radically different: a farmhouse sits in fields where an industrial estate sprawls today; a steamship chugs up the Liffey.
Some of the nostalgic photos capture events such as the St Patrick’s Day Parade in Dublin, or race week in Tralee.This collection, recently recovered from the archives of the Irish Independent, is complemented by the original captions. It forms a portrait of the Ireland that existed before Teilifis Eireann, Vatican II or the European Economic Community, giving an insight into how the landscape and infrastructure of the nation have evolved.